Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Marseille-Provence 2013 European Capital of Culture

In between a fabulous mini-break in Italy, I've started my complete guide to this enormous jamboree. The European Capital of Culture is not confined to Marseille - it sprawls all over Southern Provence, as far east as La Ciotat, as far west as Arles and the Camargue and as far north as Saint Rémy de Provence. There's an enormous amount going on, it kicks off on the weekend of 12-13 January 2-13 and I'll be keeping a close eye on all the news. Here's my events diary for January 2013 - watch this space for further developments.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Casting the Anchor

 It's been a busy ten days, as I've been building a website for my local restaurant, L'Ancre (The Anchor - there's a huge one just in front of it -- goodness knows how it originally got there). This intimate place is right at the entrance to Niolon, with an outdoor terrace overlooking the bay towards Marseille and a cosy indoor dining area with an open fire.

It has gone through successive waves of bad or apathetic management and last year got a truly terrible review in the restaurant guide Le Bouche à Oreille. But it has been take over this summer by a family from the village and I can testify that the mother is an excellent cook. So, when you have a moment, take a look at the (my!) website for L'Ancre. And, of course, do visit the restaurant itself if you're ever down Niolon way.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

An Extraordinary Trip Round the Bay

I love September in Provence. Well, I love Provence at most times of the year, but right now the dog days of August and its sweltering heat are over, the weather is mild, the tourists are gone (mostly) and there's a ton of exciting things to do. Septembre en Mer (September by the Sea) is a case in point: this festival (which actually sprawls over a good six weeks from late August to early October) encompasses hundreds of marine-related events, from an introduction to scuba diving to a gastronomic fish barbecue overseen by a top local chef or a visit to a lighthouse or shipyard. Yesterday I opted for a boat trip to the Riou Archipelago, a cluster of islands off the coast near Marseille's calanques. This nature reserve is an amazing lunar landscape and eco-system that's normally closed to visitors throughout the year except for four days in September. Click here to see my photo gallery on Facebook.